YouGov’s BrandIndex looked back at 2011 to determine which U.S. brands had the greatest buzz.

Not only was Subway the 2011 Buzz leader amongst quick-serves, but Subway also had the No. 1 Buzz score amongst the entire BrandIndex universe. Two of the top 5 quick-serve brands, meanwhile, were pizza brands, with Papa John’s at No. 3 and Pizza Hut coming in at No. 4.

The quick-serve sector featured only two brands that improved by more than one point, and the largest improver (McDonald’s) climbed only 1.2 points in 2011, in terms of buzz when compared to 2010.

Some notable events for McDonald’s in 2011 include its McJob’s hiring push, its plan to launch a TV network inside stores with local news and sports, and the national launch of the McRib LTO.

The top Buzz scores in the quick-serve segment in 2011 were:

  1. Subway (41)
  2. Wendy's (26.8)
  3. Papa John's (24.8)
  4. Pizza Hut (23.3)
  5. Chick-Fil-A (20.9)

Subway continued to expand its breakfast and $5 foot-long program in 2011, with the foot-long program rotating a featured sub each month. Subway was the only dining brand to crack the top 10 of the entire YouGov BrandIndex universe of more than 1,100 brands.

The sandwich giant ranked No. 1 in the overall Buzz list in 2011 for the second consecutive year. 

McDonald’s had the greatest leap in buzz score between 2011 and 2010, with Hardee’s coming in second, and Jimmy John’s third. The top five jumps in buzz score were as follows:

  1. McDonald's
    2011 = 15.8
    2010 = 14.6
  2. Hardee's
    2011 = 5.6
    2010 = 4.6
  3. Jimmy John's
    2011 = 6.2
    2010 = 5.1
  4. Culver's
    2011 = 5.8
    2010 = 4.8
  5. Nathan's Famous
    2011 = 4.1
    2010 = 3.2

YouGov BrandIndex ( conducts the only daily consumer perception research on brands, interviewing 5,000 people each weekday from a representative U.S. population sample, equaling more than 1.2 million interviews per year.

YouGov BrandIndex's measurement scores range from 100 to -100, and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A score of zero means equal positive and negative feedback.

All 1,100+ U.S. brands in the YouGov BrandIndex universe were measured using their Buzz score, which asks respondents: "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?"

All results are for adults 18 and older.

Burgers, Consumer Trends, News, Pizza, Sandwiches, Culver's, Hardee's, Jimmy John's, McDonald's, Nathan's Famous, Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, Subway, Wendy's